Research peer review

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Research peer review is part of the editorial process of academic journals and scientific journals and is the "evaluation by experts of the quality and pertinence of research or research proposals of other experts in the same field. Peer review is used by editors in deciding which submissions warrant publication, by granting agencies to determine which proposals should be funded, and by academic institutions in tenure decisions."[1][2]

Peer review is meant to improve the quality of reporting[3] and readability[4] of manuscripts.[5] The cost of manuscript peer review has been estimated at £165 million (US$326 million).[6]

Peer review is also used in reviewing of grant applications.[7] Research peer review of grant applications is time-consuming.[8]


Peer review seems to successfully stratify articles. In one study, articles rejected by a academic journal were very unlikely to be subsequently published in a journal with higher impact factor.[9] The use reporting guidelines such as STROBE and CONSORT during peer review may help.[10]


Problems with peer review have been summarized.[11]

Reviewers may have biases in their judgments of manuscripts.[12]

Reviewers may miss important mistakes in articles.[13]

Reviewers may provide worse reviews as the reviewers progress in their careers.[14]

Publication bias

For more information, see: Publication bias.

Post-publication peer review

Post-publication peer review may be limited by the lack of responses by authors to comments on their articles.[15]

Recently, blog-based peer-review has been tested, yielding mixed results.[16]


  1. Anonymous (2024), Research peer review (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. Justice AC, Berlin JA, Fletcher SW, Fletcher RH, Goodman SN (1994). "Do readers and peer reviewers agree on manuscript quality?". JAMA 272 (2): 117–9. PMID 8015119[e]
  3. Goodman SN, Berlin J, Fletcher SW, Fletcher RH (1994). "Manuscript quality before and after peer review and editing at Annals of Internal Medicine". Ann. Intern. Med. 121 (1): 11–21. PMID 8198342[e]
  4. Roberts JC, Fletcher RH, Fletcher SW (1994). "Effects of peer review and editing on the readability of articles published in Annals of Internal Medicine". JAMA 272 (2): 119–21. PMID 8015120[e]
  5. Jefferson T, Rudin M, Brodney Folse S, Davidoff F (2007). "Editorial peer review for improving the quality of reports of biomedical studies". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2): MR000016. DOI:10.1002/14651858.MR000016.pub3. PMID 17443635. Retrieved on 2008-06-26. Research Blogging.
  6. Zoë Corbyn (2008). Unpaid peer review is worth £1.9bn. Times Higher Education.
  7. Demicheli V, Di Pietrantonj C (2007). "Peer review for improving the quality of grant applications". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2): MR000003. DOI:10.1002/14651858.MR000003.pub2. PMID 17443627. Retrieved on 2008-06-26. Research Blogging.
  8. Wessely S (1998). "Peer review of grant applications: what do we know?". Lancet 352 (9124): 301-5. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(97)11129-1. PMID 9690424. Research Blogging.
  9. Anonymous. Follow-up analysis of rejected manuscripts submitted to The EMBO Journal in 2007 The EMBO Journal
  10. Cobo E, Cortés J, Ribera JM, Cardellach F, Selva-O'Callaghan A, Kostov B et al. (2011). "Effect of using reporting guidelines during peer review on quality of final manuscripts submitted to a biomedical journal: masked randomised trial.". BMJ 343: d6783. DOI:10.1136/bmj.d6783. PMID 22108262. PMC PMC3222149. Research Blogging.
  11. Bornmann L. Scientific peer review. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology .
  12. Ernst E, Resch KL (August 1994). "Reviewer bias: a blinded experimental study". J. Lab. Clin. Med. 124 (2): 178–82. PMID 8051481. Retrieved on 2008-06-26. [e]
  13. Baxt WG, Waeckerle JF, Berlin JA, Callaham ML (September 1998). "Who reviews the reviewers? Feasibility of using a fictitious manuscript to evaluate peer reviewer performance". Ann Emerg Med 32 (3 Pt 1): 310–7. PMID 9737492. Retrieved on 2008-06-26. [e]
  14. Callaham M, McCulloch C (2011). "Longitudinal trends in the performance of scientific peer reviewers.". Ann Emerg Med 57 (2): 141-8. DOI:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2010.07.027. PMID 21074894. Research Blogging.
  15. Gøtzsche PC, Delamothe T, Godlee F, Lundh A (2010). "Adequacy of authors' replies to criticism raised in electronic letters to the editor: cohort study.". BMJ 341: c3926. DOI:10.1136/bmj.c3926. PMID 20699306. PMC PMC2919680. Research Blogging.
  16. Young JR (2008-04-02). Experimental Use of Blog-Based Peer Review Gives Mixed Results. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved on 2008-04-15.